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Prevention of NYC Construction accident injuries related to cold-formed steel

geograph-4749794-by-John-BakerIn the aftermath of the tragic construction accident that killed Segundo Huerta and injured 5 other workers on a Bronx site in August last year (see previous blog), the NYC Department of Buildings recently released a notice to remind special inspectors, construction superintendents, design professionals, and permit holders about the requirements related to cold-formed steel light-frame construction in New York City.

Cold form steel framing is often used in low rise and mid-rise building projects. It refers to the structural frame that creates the form and support to the building.  While erecting such structures, clear procedures including properly bracing loading decks, or avoiding overloading floors with temporary construction loads must be followed to prevent collapse.

The NYC Building Code has specific regulations and requirements related to cold form steel framing. Last month, the DOB issued a service notice reminding construction professionals about it. Here are some of the main points:

  • Construction workers shouldn’t load material and equipment on finished decking unless specifically directed to do so by a supervisor.
  • Supervisors must make sure loading doesn’t exceed framing or decking capacities.
  • Construction workers should not remove bracing or shoring unless specifically ordered to do so by a supervisor.
  • Employers must provide fall protection for construction workers and must make sure workers wear a harness while working near uncovered holes or unprotected edges.
  • Only workers that are experienced with laying decks should be standing on sections of decks that are being formed. Before they start working they need to have a discussion with the construction superintendent about the operation.
  • Construction workers should run all utilities through provided openings. Cutting or drilling holes through cold form steel is not allowed and can weaken the structures, increasing the risk of collapse.

More detailed info can be found in this recent DOB Bulletin

Picture of  an example of Building construction using cold-formed steel light-frame, Will’s Farm, Wills Lane cc-by-sa/2.0  courtesy of – © John Baker –  (creative commons license)